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Smart software instructs learning support students

By Breanna Wimby

 

A program called ALEKS, Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces, has been instituted college wide this semester in an effort to redesign math learning support classes.

ALEKS is “smart software that determines what the student knows and what the student doesn’t know or needs to work on,” according to Alice Pierce, associate mathematics department chair.

In ALEKS students study by various math topics like arithmetic readiness, graphs and linear equations and functions to name a few. If ALEKS determines that you have “mastered” a particular topic, you get more topics and are able to move forward.

Based on your knowledge of each topic, you will have to solve any number of problems from none to 25. “That’s the good thing about it, stuff you know, you don’t need to do problems on. Stuff you don’t know it

will make sure you know it,” Pierce said. ALEKS student, Danielle Gerhartz, said that she would prefer if ALEKS was more of a classroom setting as opposed to the current system of meeting twice a week and doing it online.

“To me, it’s about the same … when you asked [the teachers] for help they kind of make you do the work for yourself instead of really explaining it,” said Tyrell Malloy.

This is Malloy’s third semester participating in ALEKS. Malloy has taken the basic class during the spring and summer semesters, and decided to take it online but, doesn’t like it.

Malloy claims that he “can’t focus on remembering to do it online.”

The main difference with ALEKS is that students have the ability to finish the class early. Unlike the traditional learning support math courses, the student determines how far they go.

“You have to be active.You have to interact with the program, you have to be engaged,” said Pierce.

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  • Alex

    This is the worst program especially for non-traditional students and students who have difficulty in math. The advisors on campuses are registering current math 98 students for this class in spring because”we expect you not to pass in one semester. It is geared as a two semester class.” Who tells a student that they expect them to fail but I have heard this more than once from students on campus. Advising needs to be revamped and have advisors who show empathy. I pay for my tuition and cannot afford to retake a class that is geared to students’ failure.